By Laura Bernardini and Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Liberty University students and alumni are accusing the Christian school of violating its own teachings by asking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose adherents are called Mormons, to deliver its 2012 commencement address.
By Friday morning, more than 700 comments had been posted on the school's Facebook page about the Thursday announcement - a majority of them decidedly against the Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.’s invitation, citing that the school had taught them Mormonism isn’t part of the Christian faith.
“I can’t support Romney and I am happy I decided not to walk (in the commencement) this year,” wrote student Josh Bergmann. “Liberty University should have gotten a Christian to speak not someone who practices a cult. Shame on you Liberty University.”
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN)–I saw a 16-year-old girl buried Thursday.
At the prayer service, her younger brother, weeping, choked on his words.
Her younger sister told us not to be sad.
Her father said, “I believe in God, I believe in God, I believe in God,” perhaps because he was no longer so sure, or maybe just for emphasis.
Her mother said that parents are not supposed to bury their children, and then she did.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN)-– What was once just a policy review by Vanderbilt University has morphed into a national debate over religious freedom, and now outside Christian groups are not only chiming in on the debate, but also buying television advertisements in Nashville, the school's backyard.
At the heart of the issue is a nondiscrimination policy that would allow any university student to join any campus organization and be allowed a shot at club leadership. Eleven religious groups on campus are concerned that the integrity of their organizations will be violated by the rule.
“What really is on the line is the integrity of our organization,” said Brant Bonetti, a senior at Vanderbilt and the former president of Beta Upsilon Chi, a Christian fraternity. “If the leader is the face of the organization and you can’t define their values as they match the organization, how can you be sure that they will follow the mission of that organization?”
By Laura Koran, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: Romney to deliver Liberty University commencement speech
Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address at the evangelical Christian university led by Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University said in a Thursday post to their website. The school, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, will host the likely GOP nominee for their May 12 graduation.
CNN: Vatican blasts American nuns, calls for reforms
The Vatican is turning up the heat on a group of nuns it says are operating outside of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrines. The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the church’s doctrinal watchdog, on Wednesday announced the conclusion of a years-long “doctrinal assessment” investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 80% of the Catholic nuns in the United States. The “assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems,” said the report, which called for major reforms.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.